TURKEY

Turkey has 'legitimate security interests' in Syria

TURKEY HAS LEGITIMATE SECURITY INTERESTS IN SYRIA

Germany said on Friday that Turkey had legitimate security interests in Syria, but also called for restraint amid reports of an imminent Turkish military operation in Afrin.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman, Rainer Breul said they were closely following the developments in northern Syria, after Ankara issued stark warnings over Afrin.

Turkey is mulling over a possible operation in the Syrian district to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along its border.

Afrin -- a region bordering Turkey's southern Hatay and Kilis provinces -has been controlled by the PYD/PKK terrorist group since 2012, when Syrian regime forces withdrew from the area.

"Turkey has legitimate security interests along its border with Syria," Breul acknowledged, referring to the threats posed by the ongoing civil war in the neighboring country.

"We hope and expect that Turkey will continue to exert political and military restraint," he said.

Breul added that Germany believed that the focus of military activities in northern Syria should be on Daesh and its successor terror organizations in the region.

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, killing nearly 40,000 people.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, the PKK resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015 following a fragile cease-fire. Since then, more than 1,200 security personnel have been martyred in related violence.

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